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What Propelled the S&P 500 to Multiyear Highs

By Sean Williams – Updated Apr 7, 2017 at 1:13PM

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The S&P 500 shrugs off mixed employment data to climb to another four-year high.

It definitely wasn't the prettiest way to lower the unemployment rate 20 basis points to 8.1%, but employment data released this morning noted the addition of 96,000 jobs, well below the 120,000 economists had been forecasting. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) largely shrugged off the miss and ended the day at its highs, up 5.80 points, or 0.4%, to 1437.92, another four-year high. Let's take a quick glance at some of the movers that helped push the S&P 500 to its multiyear high as well as note a couple of the underperformers.

Companies that helped the S&P 500
Today was a fantastic today to be involved in the mining business, following the announcement from China that it plans to spend $156 billion in steel-intensive infrastructure projects.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF), a supplier of iron ore and metallurgical coal used to strengthen steel, was one of the primary beneficiaries, rocketing higher by better than 14%. My Foolish colleague Alex Planes thinks Cliffs Natural Resources could be a deep value at these levels, and I happen to agree with him.

Also getting a boost from this news was Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX), which jumped 8.5%. Similar to the story that pushed Cliffs Natural higher, as one of the largest suppliers of copper, demand from China should be expected to pick up in light of its broad-reaching infrastructure plans. The Fool's Dan Carroll has gone into extensive detail recently as to why he thinks Freeport-McMoRan could be a "major steal" at these levels.

Companies that hindered the S&P 500
However, it wasn't all peaches and cream for Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT), whose plans to split the company in two left a poor taste in investors' mouths. Kraft cautioned that its international snacks segment, which will be known as Mondelez International, is forecasted to be hurt by foreign currency translations in 2013 and anticipates its growth rate to be below the 5%-7% it expects the company to grow at over the long term. Kraft finished the day down more than 5%.

Chip-making giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) also soured the party for much of the processing sector following a warning that its third-quarter revenue will not meet its previous forecasts because of weakness in PC sales and emerging-market demand. Intel now predicts third-quarter revenue will dip 7% from the year-ago period to $13.2 billion, down notably from the $13.8 billion-$14.8 billion it had previously forecasted. If anything, this reminds us of the still fragile nature of the global economy.

Is this a hiccup or something more?
Is this quarter's revenue shortfall a minor hiccup or the beginning of a downward trend in the microprocessor sector? Find out the answer to this question and many more by getting your copy of our latest premium research report on Intel. Geared for the long term, this report will highlight in detail the opportunities and risks Intel faces and what forces could move its share price. Get this report and claim your investing edge.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,634.01 (-0.18%) $-6.46
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Stock Quote
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.
$13.79 (0.18%) $0.03
Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
$26.15 (-0.89%) $0.23
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Stock Quote
Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
$27.84 (-1.19%) $0.34

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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